Consul General Zhao Weiping with the CCAI Colorado Staff.
This morning the CCAI staff had the privilege of visiting with the Chinese Consul General to Chicago, Zhao Weiping, who was in Denver to deliver awards to outstanding teachers in the Chinese community, including our own Yu Li from the Joyous Chinese Cultural Center!
Consul General Zhao discusses the waiting child match process with Program Manager Sarah Harmon and President Joshua Zhong.
During his visit to the CCAI office, President Joshua Zhong and CEO Lily Nie were able to treat Mr. Zhao and his staff to a behind the scenes tour of CCAI and introduced them to several departments including Travel, Dossier, JCCC and even Waiting Child where he was able to learn about how a match was made an what information our team has to work with when looking for a prospective families for the children we advocate for every day.
The Joyous Chinese Cultural Center’s own Yu Li discusses the various classes and programs offered through the JCCC that teach Chinese heritage and language.
Before his departure, Mr. Zhao spoke to the CCAI team and expressed how much he appreciated the post adoption support, such as the cultural education that CCAI provides to each child after they join their families by allowing them easy access to learn about their heritage and culture. He thanked CCAI for bringing love and hope to so many children in China, and said he hoped to strengthen our close bond in the future.
“You work is a labor of love and you are making a huge difference in the lives of these children,” said Mr. Zhao. He expressed his gratitude to all adoptive families for their generous love and commitment.
Consul General Zhao Weiping and staff with JCCC Director Yu Li, CCAI CEO Lily Nie and President Joshua Zhong.
(from left): Joshua Zhong, Sandy Puc’, Emily Adcox, Paul Rady, Moya Smith and Lily Nie.
This past Saturday, we had the opportunity to recognize the outstanding volunteers who help make the events and charity projects possible, year round, here at CCAI. It is because of the hard work and dedication of our amazing volunteers that we are the number one ranked China adoption agency in the world! To honor their efforts, CEO Lily Nie and President Joshua Zhong presented five of our fantastic volunteers with the CCAI “Volunteer of the Year” Award this past Saturday at the 2015 CCAI Volunteer Appreciation Reception.
The first award recipient was the Chairman of the CCAI Board of Directors, Paul Rady, who has worked with CCAI on numerous projects for more than 15 years since they adopted their first daughter from China in the late 90s. Said Rady, “The most rewarding part about volunteering has come from seeing the more than 11,000 [children] we have been able to join with loving families.”
(from left): Lily Nie, Sarah Ritz with her daughter, and Joshua Zhong.
The final three award recipients were CCAI charity coordinators, Moya Smith with “XinXiang First Hug” , Emily Adcox with “Henan Kids International”, and Sarah Ritz, Chairperson of CCAI’s Annual Orphan Care Gala. All three amazing women have led the charge to improve orphan care in Henan and China as a whole. Their tireless efforts have been invaluable in raising Henan Province over the last several years from a province with the fewest number international adoptions to the No. 2 adoption province in the entire country.
“For any charity, volunteers are such a crucial part to their success. Since day one, we have benefited greatly from our volunteer support. People come to us from all walks of life believing they can make a difference through us, in the orphans’ lives,” said Joshua. Our volunteers are the secret to CCAI’s success and we are so blessed to have the support of such loving, dedicated individuals.
Thank you to everyone who helped us celebrate our incredible volunteers! Thank you to all CCAI volunteers around the country who serve orphans with us through generous donations, passionate references, and event coordination to support CCAI families around the world!
During their recent trip to China, CCAI co-founders CEO Lily Nie and President Josh Zhong paid a special visit to our recently expanded Lily Orphan Care Center (LOCC) in Zhengzhou and thanked our dedicated staff and volunteers for their hard work and passion.
CCAI’s first LOCC opened its doors in 2000 to “offer a child-centered model” that aimed to transform the orphan care system and quality in China. During the past 15 years, hundreds of care-takers from all over China have received systematic training through our LOCC’s and thousands of orphans’ lives have been impacted!
You can be a part of this life-changing effort by sponsoring an orphan or care-taker. For more information about sponsorship, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ANNUAL PROVINCIAL TRAINING A HUGE SUCCESS
Before CCAI’s partnership with Henan province began, Henan had the lowest number of adoptions in the country and the quality of care was low. Thanks to the leadership and development training CCAI has provided, Henan province now ranks second in the country for international adoptions! Over 2,000 orphans’ lives have been forever changed through international adoption and many more orphans have been impacted through CCAI’s orphanage partnership charity projects.
On April 7th and 8th, 118 provincial-, city- and county-level officials responsible for orphan care gathered in Zhengzhou to exchange information, share ideas, establish a network, and hear adoptive families’ moving testimonies.
During the meeting, Joshua shared with participants about the life, education, and medical care of adopted children from Henan Province and Lily gave a comprehensive report of our 2014 Henan-CCAI Partnership. Lily also shared with orphanages leader all of the exciting accomplishments and goals our partnership has achieved this past year. CCAI adoptive mom, Jennie Nation, also gave a moving testimony of her personal adoption journey and graciously answered many questions from very appreciative officials!
An orphanage director share, “Her story is truly touching and we are so happy our children are being so loved in their new families.”
We thank CCCWA and the Henan government for their continued support of our relentless efforts to bring hope, healing, and homes to children with special needs.
JOSH AND LILY VISIT WITH CCAI FAMILIES IN SHANGHAI
Lily and Josh give an update on CCAI’s projects to families in Shanghai.
An important part of Josh and Lily’s domestic and international trips has always been to thank CCAI families, friends and supporters, as well as greet our CCAI children. On April 11th, a group of enthusiastic CCAI families and their children gathered at Suzanne and Tim Calton’s beautiful house to welcome Josh and Lily.
Josh and Lily got a chance to spend some quality time with our CCAI family and friends in Shanghai!
Josh and Lily gave a report on CCAI’s charity efforts in China and thanked everyone for their support of CCAI and its mission. They also answered families’ questions about adoption and volunteer opportunities.
Josh, Lily and all of the CCAI staff want to give a huge and special thank you to Tim and Suzanne for hosting everyone at their home and for making the gathering possible.
I love my job; I love our mission and that has been true since my first day at CCAI. But, like any job, the daily grind can sometimes cause one to lose sight of the bigger picture. Don’t get me wrong, I really do like the daily tasks that my job entails but after going to China, my perspective of what I do here at CCAI everyday has forever changed.
From time to time, CCAI so generously sends staff on adoption trips to observe what an adoption trip is like, to take in the culture, and to see why we are all working so hard. I was so excited when I was told it was my turn to go!
If I could sum the trip up in one word: incredible. I loved all the tours in Beijing, I loved meeting all of CCAI’s amazing China-based representatives, and I loved watching families adjust to their newest family members. Overall, Gotcha Day was what I expected — total, beautiful chaos, kind nannies, brave foster moms, scared tears from upset little faces, happy tears from adoptive parents who have been waiting for this day for so long… But, what I found to be the most impactful part of my time in China was the days to come after Gotcha Day. To watch families over the next week and half of the trip — to see the triumphs, the struggles, the good days, the bad days — made me feel so connected to this whole incredible process. This is life and this is real and this is love.
I saw this love expressed day in and day out on all sides, but I saw it most intensely expressed by the moms and dads on the trip. It was so powerful to observe parents being, well, parents. Again, more struggles, more triumphs. I saw parents wrestle with how/when to discipline. Do they wait to discipline their child until she understands them and trusts them? Do they start parenting full force, discipline and all, right now? I had (and continue to have) no idea!! I’m sure there are many schools of thought on this. I knew it before, but these families and their hearts made me realize even more so, just how hard adoption really is in so many ways. You don’t know your child’s history — how they were parented (if they were fortunate enough to have a solid parental figure), how they were taken care of day-to-day, what their happiest memory is, what their saddest memory is, why they have certain scars, why they do the things they do, etc. I cannot imagine what those first few weeks of parenting are like, or for that matter what the next 20 years of parenting is like. I’m so glad there are parents who want to rise to the challenge and I admire them endlessly.
What I didn’t expect on this trip was to think about dossiers, but I did! About halfway through the trip, I felt so anxious, thinking, “I should be reviewing dossiers RIGHT NOW! I need to get our families to China IMMEDIATELY!” I knew my teammates back home had everything under control; but if I was back at work, that would mean one extra person there to get things done! I couldn’t shake this sudden sense of urgency, a stronger urgency than I had ever felt before! Of course, I’ve always known it’s important to get our work done as soon as possible, that there is a little life at the end of all of this paperwork, but something about actually being in China, seeing our families in person, seeing the children in person… It changed me and made me see just how important these daily tasks that I do, are and how much patience/love/respect our families deserve in this crazy process!
I had a short but special time with the families I traveled with and got a tiny window into what adopting from China really looks like, something for which I am so grateful! Now I am back at work with a renewed sense of purpose and energy (and with that same sense of urgency I felt on the trip!). I will also never again say, “Your dossier is done! You’ve finished the majority of the paperwork for your adoption process!” since, truthfully, I see now that the ENTIRE adoption process is paperwork (and it continues on your adoption trip and beyond)!
I’m not Wonder Woman and balancing everything that needs to get done in a day still isn’t easy but I can guarantee this … That I will show up every day, completing as much has humanly possible as quickly as possible. I will do my best to keep in mind that despite the monotony the dossier process can sometimes bring (for probably both myself and parents alike!) on the other end of a phone call or email is an AMAZING human being who is courageous and loving and wants nothing more than to bring a child home.